As Oil Falters, Renewable Energy Investments Soar

The sun has been shining brightly on the solar and wind industries. While the fossil fuel industry has struggled, investments for renewables are booming at a rate of two to one over oil.

According to a recent Bloomberg report, renewable investments broke new records in 2015 and look to be increasing.

The renewables sector can thank government subsidies for part of the momentum. But a bigger driver has been the declining costs of installing and generating renewable power. Bloomberg reports that the cost of solar, for example, has plummeted to 1/150th of where it was in the 1970s, while the amount of installed solar power has grown 115,000-fold.

Because solar is a technology it also becomes more efficient and cost-effective over time. Bloomberg noted that every time solar power doubles, the costs decline 24 percent. Battery technology to store solar-generated power has also fallen sharply in recent years.

Because of these factors, in the last 15 years, solar power energy generation has doubled seven times. During that time, wind power doubled four times.

The future looks just as bright. The International Energy Agency has increased its long-term forecast for solar 14 times since 2000, and five times for wind.

Meanwhile, there’s no shortage of indicators to show how the oil industry has been suffering. Rig counts are at historic lows. According to Reuters, many major oil producers are planning to slash costs and investments in 2016 to their lowest levels in six years.

Though the fracking boom has been partly responsible for the glut in oil and the industry’s woes, it has also created a boom in natural gas. This year will be the first year that natural gas will overtake coal as the main source of electricity in the U.S.

Coal’s share of the country’s energy has fallen to 32 percent and many believe it will continue to fade from the landscape.

Here’s a look at how renewable power has risen across the globe.

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